Itty Bitty Titty Committee

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Power Up

NEW YORK -- Gender politics is such a potentially bountiful subject for screen satire that it's more of a shame that "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" doesn't live up to its deliberately in-your-face title. This comic effort by director Jamie Babbit, who explored similar material in "But I'm a Cheerleader," never manages to sustain a consistent tone. It squanders its provocative subject matter with inept execution.

The story line centers on the romantic and political awakening of Anna (Melonie Diaz), a young lesbian Latina woman trying to get over a failed relationship. She works for a plastic surgeon specializing in breast augmentation, a natural target for the radical feminist group dubbed "C(I)A," for "Clits in Action." When Anna spots one of its members, Sadie (Nicole Vicius) spray-painting protests on her employer's building, she is immediately intrigued. It isn't long before she has joined the group and gotten involved with the freewheeling and sultry Sadie.

The film largely concentrates on the group's various high jinks, which include defacing female mannequins and installing an Angela Davis statue in a public park. But their ambitions get much higher via a plot to add their own personal alteration to what they see as one of America's most prominent phallic symbols, the Washington Monument.

Alternating between juvenile humor and sensitively depicting Anna's evolution, "Itty Bitty" doesn't really work on either level. Tina Mabry and Abigail Shafran's script, while obviously passionate, is wildly uneven, and its deficiencies are only magnified by Babbit's less than assured direction. While Diaz plays an appealing heroine, many of the supporting players are overly broad in their stereotypical characterizations.

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